Pieris x 'Forest Flame'

whaas_5a(5A SE WI)September 12, 2011

Got a fairly sizable plant for a steal so I figured I try one of these out. Can't believe it wasn't rootbound and showing limited signs of stress.

Curious if this plant is quite finiky of its placement. I recall my neighbor put one out in full exposure to the west and north. It croaked the next spring.

I can situate mine in full sun (will get shaded over the years) but it will be protected from winter winds. Otherwise if I give it shade now its more exposed to winter winds.

I'm thinking the former is the better placement?

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I have killed them all, in every microenvironment. However, if you must try, and I understand you must, I would choose whichever site has soil that is acid and light, and stays moist. It likely won't survive either spot. My solution was always to buy two and try both spots! Long term, find a 'Browers Beauty', site it in moist acid soil, shade it in winter, and you will be beyond happy. Mine is now 4' x 4' and puts on a hell of a show in the spring. The P. floribunda genes give it hardiness that the Asian varieties lack.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 9:22PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Full sun it is for now. I'll give it a whirl and see what happens. I'll keep an eye out for 'Browers Beauty'.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 10:14PM
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mainegrower(Z5b ME)

'Forest Flame' is a hybrid between p. japonica and p. formosa (taiwanense) or possibly a hybrid of p. formosa. The latter species is not very hardy and p. 'Forest Flame' is probably a Z6 plant at best, like almost all of the pieris varieties with red foliage.

Like all pieris, it's very prone to lacebug damage, especially in full sun situations.

'Brouwers Beauty' is a good if very large growing pieris, but there are other very hardy smaller types as well. Most of these were developed in the Netherlands and are based on the very hardy pieris yakushimanum.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 4:51AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

5 gallon plant, about 3' tall. Looks pretty robust...cost $11. 2 year warranty.

Take it back or plant it?

If the odds are highly likely that it won't suceed I don't want to waste my time even if it was $11.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 10:24AM
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mainegrower(Z5b ME)

The monetary risk is small (actually 0 with the warranty), so I guess it depends on what your labor is worth.

Unless you have a very favorable microclimate or reliably deep all-winter snow cover it seems highly unlikely to me that it will survive a typical Z5a winter. I think even Z6a would be pretty optimistic.

I really don't think full sun will be much to it's liking, either. If you want to try, I'd pick a place with dappled shade or morning sun afternoon shade. I'd protect with burlap for the winter, mulch heavily, and treat for lacebug next year should it make it through the winter.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 11:21AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

To me it would seem this shrub has not a chance in your winter climate. It might be interesting enough to you to grow as a tub specimen that is overwintered under cover each year. Here, where it is hardy outdoors, it grows well above head height.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 10:49AM
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I would plant it if I had a protected part-shade spot for it. I wouldn't bother in full sun. Sooner or later you will regret it. Do you have acid soil? I think pieris really need that too.

I have never had winter damage on any pieris and I have several -- sometimes I think I may even have some zone 4 microclimates. I think it's a culture thing with pieris.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:23AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I did find a couple sources that actually said this plant is zone 4 hardy...hmmm.

Thanks for the posts...I think I am going to change my game plant and give it part shade (east exporsure but it will get northeast winds).

I'll post an update in spring. I have neutral soil.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 1:21PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The Formosan pieris component of the parentage would be expected to make it much less hardy. Some occasional damage, sometimes quite severe is seen on that (especially the variety of it with the red new growth) even in Seattle (western USDA 8). Unless the hybrid happens to have somehow inherited all the hardiness of the Japanese pieris parent results gotten with that one do not apply.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 11:32AM
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So I'm curious, did the plant survive? I would really love to try out this species, or at least the general genus, but I'm not sure if it's possible with my area going down to zone 4.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 1:00PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Nope, died with the mildest winter on record for us the following spring. Almost had a zone 6 winter. I still have a Abies pinsapo living.

I have neutral to slightly alkaline sandy soil so not the right soil location so that tells me its very finicky on its soil conditions.

I've actually never had a plant die that quickly until this one.
. I can tell that acidic AND moisture loving plants (like Rhodies) despise my soil.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 2:35PM
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'Browers Beauty' is your only hope

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 2:38PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Kevin, your soil is slightly acidic right? Sandy loam?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 1:34PM
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Not sandy at all. I have a neutral loam, with that area heavily covered in pine bark years ago, along with plenty of sulfur. There are a few Rhodies in that space, along with Enkianthus, Clethra, and the Stewartia. If your soil isn't right, make it! Pine bark chips, leaf mold, and sulfur make the perfect soil for these acid lovers and their shallow roots.The local ag coop sells 50lb. bags of sulfur for $12 or so.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:45PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Here's one of my 'Forist Flame' Pieris japonicas from last Spring. It's slated to be moved and pruned into a tree form. They get taller than I realized.
The new growth is a beautiful red, but I like the new growth on Mountain Fire better. It's a darker red, more intense red.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 11:37AM
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